PNB detects Rs 11360 cr fraudulent transactions

State-run Punjab National Bank today said it had detected "some fraudulent and unauthorised" transactions amounting to around Rs 11,360 crore at a branch in Mumbai.

Banking industry leader and former Vice President of the All India Bank Employees Association Vishwas Utagi said if this was the scenario of one company pertaining to just one branch of PNB, then the situation was "truly alarming". "After having capitalised, we will ensure that all banks are cleaned up", said Rajiv Kumar, department of financial services secretary. Adding that the details had been reported to law enforcement agencies, PNB refrained from naming anyone, particularly in their official statement. "Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers overseas", the third largest public sector lender said in its BSE filing. On Wednesday, PNB said these transactions were contingent in nature and the liability arising out of these on the bank would be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions. Other lenders give credit based on the letter of undertaking issued by a bank.

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Among those suspended is a deputy manager, Gokulnath Shetty, who was posted at PNB's foreign exchange department in Mumbai since March 31, 2010. The bank alleged that it was making an "in depth" inquiry to find outstanding LOUs that have not been detected in its system. This is the part of non-performing asset (NPA) reforms agenda.

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Meanwhile, finance ministry tried to allay concerns over the fraud case and said it has "not gone out of control" and is taking action in this respect.

The stocks of other lenders like Yes Bank, State Bank of India, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank were also impacted.

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In 2015, Bank of Baroda - another public sector bank - had brought to light a scam in which two Delhi-based businessmen cheated it of Rs 6,000 crore (slightly less than Dollars 1 billion at that time). Heavy cash transactions - sometimes four or five times a day - were also noticed.

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